Twitter is a great tool for any organisation wanting to reach out and connect with stakeholders and partners. Although some see it as a megaphone to shout out your message, a more careful use of Twitter can be a brilliant two-way communication tool that allows you to find out about your audience as well as spreading the word.
Follow the 80%/20% rule to make sure that you don’t become a Twitter bore! Rather than just talking about yourself all the time, make sure that at least 80% of your tweets are interesting, humourous or useful to your followers. If you provide valuable content for them most of the time, your followers will forgive the occasional blatant self-promotion (and will be more likely to help you out by retweeting!)
Find out if your partners and even your competitors are on Twitter and follow their accounts. You can keep an eye on what competitors are doing, while striking up conversations with partners that can create online buzz around the things you’re doing together.
Your followers will quickly disappear if you don’t pay attention to them. Make sure you check regularly for @replies and direct messages and be pretty quick with your responses. Even better, keep an eye on your Twitter stream and be the one to spark conversations up.
Another great way to find conversations to join is to search for relevant hashtags. Use http://search.twitter.com or set up searches through management tools such as Hootsuite.
Remember to set your own hashtags for campaigns or events that you’re holding, and publicise them so that you can get others using them too. For UK online centres campaigns we’ll always let you know what hashtag everyone will be using so you can join in and see what everyone else is saying and doing.
Crowdsource your solutions
Got a problem? Need to find out the answer to something? Ask your followers for their help - you’ll be surprised what you’ll get when you ask!
Social media isn’t the place for overly formal language or PR. If you’re too formal then it’s unlikely that your followers will engage with you. Being friendly and honest will encourage others to be friendly back.It’s worth establishing clear guidelines for your staff so they feel free to take part on social media as your ambassadors too.
Got your own twitter tips for non-profit organisations? Post your tips in the discussion area of Community How To.